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Four Steps to Winning Your Personal Injury Claim

27th July 2011
By Tom Smith in Personal Injury
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Every year, thousands of Americans become injured due to the negligence of someone else. A New Orleans personal injury attorney often handles medical malpractice suits, slip and fall injury claims, and product liability cases.

A personal injury lawsuit can be brought when the victim is harmed and suffers physical or emotional trauma. The plaintiff can sue to recover the costs for medical treatment and lost wages. An auto accident lawyer could also seek damages for the pain and suffering the plaintiff had to endure as a result of their injuries.

How to Prove Liability
The key element in a personal injury claim is to prove that someone was at fault. When determining liability, the injured plaintiff must be able to prove the following legal elements to be successful in winning the case:

• A Duty of Care—The plaintiff was owed a duty of care from the defendant, like a doctor has a duty to provide medical care to his or her patient.

• Duty Was Breached—There was a breach of duty when the doctor failed to provide the necessary treatment or was negligent in some way and actually harmed the patient.

• Causation—Civil litigation requires a preponderance of evidence that the defendant was the primary cause of injury to the plaintiff.

• Damages—The plaintiff is owed monetary compensation for injuries caused by the negligent conduct of the defendant.

A New Orleans personal injury attorney might be able to show that more than one party was liable for an accident. In a product liability claim, a New Orleans personal injury lawyer can file a lawsuit against both the distributor and the manufacturer of the product.

Comparative and Contributory Negligence
Negligence is the primary basis for figuring out which party is at fault. The State of Louisiana follows the comparative negligence rule. This means that even if the victim was partially at fault, he or she can still obtain damages. A New Orleans personal injury lawyer will try to determine the percentage of fault in a case. For example, if the plaintiff is suing the defendant for $100,000 but he or she was 50 percent at fault, the victim is entitled to only $50,000.

When to Consult a Louisiana Personal Injury Attorney
The law limits the amount of time the plaintiff has to commence litigation. An auto accident lawyer must file suit within one year from the date the victim became injured. Anyone who has been injured due to medical malpractice or any other type of accident should consult a New Orleans personal injury lawyer immediately since the statute of limitations might be running out.
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